Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Reverend (W)Right

I just finished watching the CNN coverage of the good Reverend Wright at the Detroit chapter of the NAACP and I have to say, "WOW!" I'll be honest, I didn't know anything about Wright and I suspect neither did you. I knew that he'd said some bombastic and perhaps offensive things, and I felt that Barack Obama did a fine job of putting him in perspective. I felt that Obama did the right thing by denouncing the comments we all saw via the mainstream media and YouTube, and that the Reverend Wright would have to slink into the shadows.

Boy, I didn't know Reverend Wright....and neither did you.

Yes, the things he said in those clips we saw for weeks and months were over the top and perhaps even offensive. No, Obama didn't have to gloss over this thing for political points as we all thought. His explanation that you can't boil a whole man's life down to a few 30 second clips was taken as a mechanism of spin, but it seemed effective so we let it pass. The problem is, he wasn't spinning. He was speaking the truth.

The speech given by Revered Wright tonight was so intelligent as to make me shake in my seat. The rhetorical style of the African-American church has to move you unless somehow you're dead, or a Republican (just teasing). The style was perfect for television (as a media scholar), but the substance was ground breaking for our national discourse. Not since the days of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement has the nation been treated to a frank, intelligent, and passionate discussion of race and society. I don't think we can put Wright in King's class, but you never know. If he gets a platform for his Word as a result of this whole controversy, he may save our American soul. I'm not a Christian, or a practitioner of any particular religion, but I felt like shouting out, "Praise Jesus!"

This is a man with two Masters degrees and a doctorate, who speaks 5 languages and possesses rhetorical gifts that would make the finest speech writer blush. He's a man of social conscience and an advocate for justice. There may be a few things that come out of his mouth that rub the wrong way. There may be some things that are unpopular or controversial, but this is no empty demagogue. It's okay if people disagree with the things he says, or find it uncomfortable, but that's GOOD for us as a people. When we're forced out of our comfort zones, out of our familiar paradigm, we grow furthest and fastest.

I encourage you to see this speech if you haven't already. It will move you, whatever direction that is.....


yankz said...

I loved it too, but it doesn't matter. The media is still too dumb to get it, and him going public just gives them another opportunity to bring back their favorite scandal. I'm actually very worried about how this is going to affect Obama's chances. Hillary is already closing the gap in NC; if he doesn't win by at least 10 there, it's trouble.

Mike Plugh said...

I'm worried, but only marginally. I think she's dug too deep a hole. She's no 2007 Phillies and he's no 2007 Mets.

I still like Wright a lot now. I think he's great. Wish people would get it more.